With the pet care expenditures topping over 52 billion dollars in 2012, it’s no surprise that we tend to pamper – dare I say spoil – our pets from time to time. With sparkly, studded collars, designer sweaters and even nail polish available to purchase for our pooches, some things may be a smidge on the unnecessary side.
One might even say the same thing about dog beds, too. After all, since when did dogs upgrade themselves from sleeping on the concrete pad outside under the back stairs to needing a “Luxury Suede Pillowtop Pet Bed” of their very own? Admittedly, there’s probably a happy medium in there somewhere. Nevertheless, I am a huge proponent that every dog needs a dedicated “spot” or perch in the home.
There are at least three reasons that a dog could benefit from a spot - aka a bed, mat or climb of their very own:
- Your dog’s designated spot means that he’s not in your designated spot. If your dog has something equally as comfortable as the La-Z-Boy Recliner but it’s on the floor nestled up against the heating vent, then what could possibly be better?... I know! What if biscuits randomly fell from the sky while he’s laying on it? That pretty much will guarantee that he’ll choose his bed over your tailor-made spot on the couch any day.
- Your dog’s spot can keep everyone safe. Does your dog crowd the front door, jump on your guests and act unruly when you have visitors? If your dog was taught to move to his spot at the sign of guests arriving (doorbell rings or knock on the door) and stay there while company enters and exits, then your guests won’t feel as violated. Plus you can ensure your dog’s safety as doors to the outside are opening and closing. Note: It is important that dogs be allowed to sniff and greet guests eventually, but only after the environment has calmed down a bit. Sniffing is a dog’s way of gathering information and assessing if they feel “safe” with your guests.
- Use your dog’s spot to teach patience and good manners. If you don’t want your dog begging for food at the dinner table, send him to his comfortable spot. If he is quiet and patient while the humans eat dinner then when dinner is over, he can then be released from his spot to eat his very own bowl of kibble or prepared meal. With consistency, Fido will learn that being patient and quiet eventually pays off. Not dinner time? That’s okay… You can still reward patient, quiet and calm behavior with a small treat or even a belly rub.
Almost anything could be used as a bed or spot for your dog, ranging from an old folded up comforter to a plush designer orthopedic bed upwards of $250. Most big box retailers and discount department stores will have a decent selection, or you can shop online retailers like Doctors Foster and Smith or In the Company of Dogs.
At the end of the day, Spot’s spot doesn’t have to be fancy. It just needs to be toasty warm, cozy and in close proximity to his most favorite companions. (Hopefully, that includes you!)